Archives for February 17, 2019

Darren Weir’s Buzzer Use to make his horses run faster stunned Australia and was a wake-up call for horseracing worldwide

Dick Francis wrote more than 40 novels. I read the first 20 or so. For Kicks was the best. It came out in 1965. Wow! Ten years old and entranced. Since then there have been many superior books but not one more riveting. What made Francis’ racing thrillers so captivating was his understanding of horseracing and its diverse characters. He had been a good jockey and knew the score.

In his stories the sport of kings was Somerset Maugham’s Monaco: a sunny place for shady people. It was the ingenuity of the plot that distinguished For Kicks. Certain horses’ performances were being bizarrely enhanced but post-race drug tests showed no trace of any banned substance. The circumstantial evidence of wrongdoing was formidable. Horses that had…